A total of 13 hopefuls are vying for the chance to represent California’s Eighth District in the U.S. House of Representatives – far and away the largest field of candidates Inyo County voters will have to choose from on June 5.
The top two vote-getters in the June 5 Primary will advance to the Nov. 6 General Election for the chance to represent District 8 as a U.S. Congressman.
District 8 covers the Eastern Sierra and most of San Bernardino County – including Victorville and Apple Valley – as well as Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve.
As part of The Inyo Register’s ongoing efforts to help voters with their decision-making on June 5, these candidates – as well as local political hopefuls – were asked a series of questions on various issues.
The Register previously published the responses to the questions posed to the candidates for the office of District 5 Inyo County Supervisor, District 4 Inyo County Supervisor, District 2 Inyo County Supervisor, Inyo County Board of Education Trustee Area 2, and is now a third of the way through the answers received from candidates running for U.S. Congress.
Each candidate was provided the same set of questions as his or her political challengers, and asked to keep the responses as concise as possible.
Given the high volume of candidates in this particular race, the District 8 hopefuls’ responses have been published in three parts. The remaining five candidates’ answers follow.
As before, their responses are printed verbatim with the order chosen by drawing.
1.) What are the biggest issues/challenges facing the 8th Congressional District right now?
John Pinkerton: Unemployment has 8th District citizens in an economic bind right now. They are pleading for relief. They are not asking for entitlements. Americans prefer to work for their bread. We are blessed to live in one of the most scenic districts in the entire country. We can put our people to work maintaining what God has given us.
Gregg Imus: The biggest challenges facing the district is bringing back the economy and putting people back to work.
Bill Jensen: The biggest challenge facing the 8th Congressional District is an over-reaching government undermining both the Constitution and the American way of life through regulatory agencies, such as the EPA and IRS, and legislation, such as the Patriot Act and NDAA, that violate the rights and protections offered to us as American citizens.
George Craig: The biggest issues/challenges now are those facing every American, and those specific to 8th District. Every American pays for the huge National Debt, and for Budget Deficits. Every American faces shrinkage of entitlements, et cetera.
Specific to our spread-out 8th District, we will be caring for the increasing senior population. Not only for aging indigenous people, but more, those now moving to our area to retire. Already, hospitals here are expanding for that purpose. But, seniors themselves have to think about living alone in an isolated area.
Joseph Napolitano: We need to roll back environmental rules, laws, and regulations that are making it harder for business to open and put people to work. Notice I said roll back not eliminate. When people are working they are not committing crimes nor being a drain on the welfare system.
2.) What are some possible solutions you’d like to have a hand in bringing to the table?
Pinkerton: We could develop welfare-to-work programs that put people to work strengthening our infrastructure by rebuilding our roads, bridges, rails and ports; expand entrepreneurship and mentorship programs to empower residents to get jobs and create jobs; support research and development; promote High Desert business’s access to federal contracts; and fight for tax cuts for small and family-owned businesses.
Imus: The government is never the solution to our problems, government is the problem. If we cut taxes and repeal erroneous regulations it would allow the miners to mine, the ranchers to ranch and packers to pack. When taxes are lowered and government is out of the way, our economy will recover.
Jensen: To take back our country from a government out-of-control, we must downsize the federal government through the overhaul and elimination of the EPA, IRS, Federal Reserve Responsibilities, and Departments of Energy, Education, and Interior and any legislation not grounded in the Constitution. I will fight to defend our borders, protect our military from any UN involvement and defend Social Security and MediCare.
Craig: Possible solutions to distance and isolation includes, first, facing reality. Unfortunately, “retirement communities,” close in to hospitals and such, have to be considered. More, chosen. This is not New York, and “mass transportation” and, “carpools” over literally thousands of square miles are not realistic. They are impossible. Further, regarding healthcare, everyone, old and young, has to start thinking what is “basic” versus “desirable.” For example, we all are entitled to “basic” police protection. I would like to bring “basic” versus “desirable” to the table regarding this and many other issues.
Napolitano: A spirt of cooperation is always needed. Open minds that are willing to comprise but not totally capitulate. Let’s say that someone wants to open a business in an area where there may be desert tortoises living. The area in question can be searched and if any turtles are there, a fence can be constructed to enable the turtles to live in safety.
3.) How can Inyo County residents be assured their concerns, needs and voices are not only being heard but represented in Washington, D.C.?
Pinkerton: Washington needs people who understand the needs of everyday, ordinary Americans, not corporations, or special interests. I want to do that kind of work for the citizens of the 8th district. In Congress, I will listen to you, and I will work toward sensible moderate government that benefits everyone. I will always put the needs of the 8th District first.
Imus: I would set up a district office in Inyo County with a competent and available district director to help address the issues you are facing. I will also commit to holding town hall meetings at different businesses to bring attention to the backbone of our economy, which is small business.
Jensen: As a 23-year U.S. Air Force Reserve Veteran, Real Estate Broker for over 30 years, former Mayor of Hesperia and current High Desert Tea Party Leader, I have spent a majority of my life representing and defending our Constitution and Nation, and I will continue to do so in Washington DC as your Congressman.
Craig: If I, George Craig, am elected, Inyo County residents can be certain they will be heard and represented in Washington.
Already, before this question, to residents here, and throughout the 8th District, I have said that I will “be here in District – at times, yes, here in Inyo County – at least once per month up on a high school stage, or similar, answering questions from voters who elected me and telling people what is going on in Washington. And, what I am doing for this District. (Like Newt Gingrich did every month while he was in Congress).” I already said, and wrote, that.
Napolitano: A congressman should always have ears and eyes on the ground. Feedback from the community is always very important. A congressman cannot be everywhere at once. People in the district need to know that they are being heard in Washington.
4.) How often would you personally visit Inyo County as the District 8 Congressman?
Pinkerton: Sharon and I have long considered Inyo County one of our absolute favorite retreat spots to vacation and camp. So the answer is, “As often as possible!”
Imus: I love fishing and hunting. I just pulled three German Browns out of the river at last month’s fishing derby in Bishop. I also love the spaghetti at my cousin Duane Rossi’s restaurant in Big Pine. You can plan on seeing me at least once a month, hopefully more.
Jensen: It would be my honor and personal responsibility to visit Inyo County at least once a month to discuss the concerns and issues of the residents of Inyo County, and make their voices heard in Washington, D.C.
Craig: “Personally (I will) visit Inyo County” two or three times a year. Note, already (CF. #3 above) I’ve already promised “to be here in the District – at times, yes, here in Inyo County – at least once a month …” Who else already has “promised” that? Also, I only made, and make, two promises. The second is: “if I am blessed to be elected now to serve only three terms, six years … not to stay in Washington ‘for a long-term retirement plan.’” Who else already has “promised” that?
Napolitano: Personally I would visit as much of the district as humanly possible on a regular basis. I enjoy meeting people and look forward to helping all I can.
5.) Given the sometimes rancorous nature of partisan politics, do you see an opportunity to work more “across the aisle” to help foster progress and greater cooperation on controversial issues?
Pinkerton: Finding common ground with folks from all walks of life is something I have been doing successfully for years in my job and now, more recently, in my campaign. For example, I was the lone Democrat participating in the Tea Party’s Forum. I believe in building bridges, not burning them, and I will continue to do so in Congress.
Imus: I will always work for the good of the people but I will never compromise principals. Every decision I every make as your representative will have to pass this test; 1) Is it right by God? 2) Is it right by the Constitution? 3) Is it right by the people? I will never compromise these principals.
Jensen: If elected to be your representative in Washington, D.C., I will never compromise on the principles for which I stand or concede in the defense of our Constitution.
Craig: I do “see an opportunity to work more ‘across the isle,’ to help foster progress and greater cooperation on controversial issues.” Elsewhere, I’ve already said, and written, that I will talk a lot to House leadership. Courteously. Balance principles with get-the-job-done. Maybe “write-out” to them your most important issues. “Based-on listening to constituents.” I already said, and wrote, that. And, I intend to operate like that in Washington.
Napolitano: We really have no other choice than to work together. With so many diverse opinions we are often diametrically opposed. Going into a meeting with a smile and a handshake and a sense of humor can sometimes break the ice. In addition I believe prayer is always in order. Knowing as many facts as possible is always helpful.